Disneyland: A Smaller Park with Just as Much Magic

Posted by on June 9, 2016 in Thoughts and Opinions | Comments Off

Missy Ryan
June 9, 2016

It is a known fact that the Disneyland Resort in California is a lot smaller than what we are accustomed to at Walt Disney World in Florida. If you have been to both parks you know first hand how the parks differ. Several people think because there is a size difference that the fun factor must be different as well. Snacks, rides and experiences must be on a smaller scale, right?

Those assumptions cannot be further from the truth. Disneyland is, of course, where it all started, so that being said, the history alone is amazing
While shuffling through the park, remember there are the little things and smaller moments that make this place as big and as grand as WDW.

A few ways to enjoy this park on the smaller yet grander scale can be as follows:

The Disneyland Railroad – This live stream railway is located on Main Street, situated at the entrance of Disneyland. The railroad is an original fixture and idea of Walt when the park opened back in 1955. Riders use it as transportation to other areas of the park or simply to experience the “Grand Circle Tour.” As the conductor welcomes you, you are escorted to seats that allow all guests to view the park as you make your way to each stop. While riding along you get to view the famous diorama which includes taxidermic animals in lifelike poses. It has been said that before boarding the train if you speak to the conductor about sitting up front, he will allow you to ride along. I toyed with the idea but chickened out last minute.

Pirates of the Caribbean – Another original at Disneyland. It was overseen by Walt Disney himself; however, he passed away three months before the attraction opened. In my opinion, I enjoyed Pirates at Disneyland over WDW. However I have not ridden it at WDW since the refurbishments. Disneyland’s Pirates was a longer ride, with two drops. The drops were steeper and had more of the thrill factor attached. When building Pirates it is said that they wanted to use real skulls. When passing through, take notice of the pirate in the bed. The skull above his headboard is a real human skull.

Snow White’s Scary Adventure, Pinnochio’s Daring Journey, Mr.Toad’s Wild Ride, Dumbo and Peter Pan’s Flight are all rides that should make your list for one reason or another. Take note that they do close down during the fireworks show and do not re-open until the fire department has checked and cleared the area. Of the few in that group, Peter Pan will have the longest line; therefore I would suggest jumping in line earlier than later.

imageFor the guests who want more action I would suggest The Matterhorn Bobsleds. Upon arrival I did pass on this attraction only because I heard it does jolt you around some. Later in the day I decided to take the plunge and hop on. I mean, it is an original, and I am a total sucker for those original rides that have Walt’s stamp on them. The Matterhorn has been the highest point in Disneyland park since 1959. It is the first roller coaster in the world to employ a tubular steel track and an electric dispatch system. Basically, what that did was allow more than one car on a track at a time. The attraction was inspired by the live-action Disney adventure film, “Third Man on the Mountain.” As guests whizz through Matterhorn caverns they may even spot supplies and other evidence of the expedition it was built after. It also said to have a hidden basketball hoop within the mountain. Employees are known to shoot hoops during work breaks; Just another fun fact to add to your list.

imageAlong the lines of cool historic rides, I like to mention the Submarine Voyage, which has now been renamed Finding Nemo, Submarine Voyage. I had no intention of experiencing this as I have some concerns with closed spaces. A cast member had told me that the only submarine that Walt Disney entered and rode was The Nautilus Submarine. I decided to see what the ride was all about. As I walked up to take a closer look, what submarine pulls up in front of me ready to take on passengers but The Nautilus! I put all concerns aside and boarded the submarine for a trip around the bay as I experienced Nemo adventures from below. Looking back, I am thrilled to be able to say I rode it. The ride is long and slow. Areas are confined as expected, but the view of (imitated) underwater life is pretty awesome.

Snacking is another fun part of the day, and Disneyland does it right in the snack department. Some familiar snacks are on the menu in Disneyland just as they are at Walt Disney World.

The Dole Whip float is a favorite of mine. The line is a bit longer for these at Disneyland just because they serve their Dole Whips from a cart with one cast member manning the station opposed to WDW having a full station with several cast members as servers and cashiers. Still just as delicious!

Churro, the piped, fried dough delicacy is scattered throughout the park. That crunch of cinnamon sugar on the outside of a warm churro is just a wonderful experience! A perfect snack for in between meals – or breakfast!

Corn dogs, REAL ONES. These are not your frozen, find them in the freezer section of your grocery store corn dogs. These corn dogs are dipped in amazing sweet cornbread batter before they are fried to a crispy, dark golden brown.

Character meet and greets: Disneyland still has characters that walk around the park, most without a cast member by their side. This was so exciting to me as I was standing at the beginning of Main Street and Belle walked past me! They still have characters with schedules in place and you may visit them at any time. I took several videos of family favorites. They said hello to my children and gave them shout outs back home. I think it was the highlight for them by far.

Time sure does fly when you’re having fun. Don’t forget to take a moment and enjoy the shows, parades and fireworks.

Magical Map was an amazing show that I encourage everyone to carve time out in your day to see.
As seasons change so do the parades. I was lucky enough to experience the fabulous Paint the Night Parade. It is sure to blow anyone away. I am in awe just when I think about it.

Fireworks at Disney are phenomenal no matter what state you are in so be sure to top off your evening with Disneyland’s Forever Fireworks as you listen to the classic “A Kiss Goodnight.”

“Disneyland will never be completed, as long as there is imagination left in the world.” ~Walt Disney

If you would like more information on Disneyland California, please contact me at missyr@wishesfamilytravel.com or follow me on Facebook.

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